Cover Letter Writing

A cover letter introduces you to potential employers and should always accompany a résumé. A cover letter is an important marketing tool that clearly highlights the strengths of your candidacy and expresses your sincere interest in a company/position. It is used to initiate contact with an employer, capture the employer's interest, demonstrate your credentials, and ultimately to secure an interview.

Types of Cover Letters

Prospecting/Introductory Letter: This type of letter is used to inform the employer of your interest and to inquire about available opportunities.

Application Letter: This type of letter is the most common and is sent to an employer in response to a specific job or internship posting.

Cover Letter Tips

  • Cover letters are written in a business letter format and should not exceed one page in length consisting of three to five paragraphs.
  • Address your cover letter to a specific person. If you do not have a specific name, address your letter to "Dear Recruiter" or Dear Hiring Manager".
  • Customize your cover letter for each employer by researching the company.
  • Solicit feedback on your cover letter from UCS Staff.
  • Always proofread your cover letter before submitting.

Cover Letter Structure

Opening Paragraph

Use the opening paragraph to introduce yourself. State your reason for writing and how you learned about the organization and/or position. If someone referred you, include the person's name and affiliation with that employer. Include two to three sentences demonstrating your level of interest and knowledge about that specific organization and/or position.

Middle Paragraph(s)

Use the middle paragraph(s) to emphasize and elaborate on your strongest qualifications and key experiences relevant to the position for which you are applying. Use the job description to identify specific qualifications of the position. Identify your strongest qualifications and give specific examples of when and how you have demonstrated them.

Closing Paragraph

Generally, the closing paragraph is used to thank the reader for his/her consideration, to request an opportunity to discuss the position, and to indicate how the employer can reach you. For those conducting long distance searches, let the employer know if you plan to visit their geographical area, in hopes of arranging an interview during your stay. The closing can also be where you again state your interest for potentially working for this employer.

Sample Cover Letters